Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Libyan Embassy implicates Kibaki in Grand Regency fraud

Amos Kimunya’s resignation on Tuesday came as a surprise for a man who had just a few days earlier vowed he would rather die than quit. By his own admission, high-level intrigues forced him out of office.

Kimunya buckled a day after the Libyan Embassy in Nairobi said President Kibaki and Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi signed three protocols, which paved the way for the disposal of the hotel. At the Treasury, the browbeaten Kipipiri MP, while announcing his resignation, implied he might have been left with no option but to step aside. "Dragging in the President’s name into the saga may have brought pressure to bear on Kimunya to give in and leave the matter to investigation," said a Cabinet source who sought anonymity. The pressure that broke Kimunya’s resolve was said to have started piling on Saturday, a day before he went to Kipipiri, where he marshalled support from his constituents.

Then on Saturday Kimunya was summoned to State House by President Kibaki, in what is understood to have been a thorough debriefing on what he would do to control the damage caused by accusations against him and the vote of no confidence, sources said. Even though he had insisted on Sunday that Grand Regency was not the subject of his discussion with Kibaki, sources have confirmed that the President dwelt on the issue at length.

The disgraced minister claims he was summoned after another PNU minister — said to be close to the President — had also visited State House earlier that Saturday morning. On Tuesday, Kimunya admitted: "I’m aware the Minister was at State House where I have been informed that pressure was put and I was demonised before the President." Kimunya, who said during the rally at Kipipiri that he had been set up in Parliament to be vilified and censured, also admitted that a plot had been hatched by colleagues in PNU to abandon him at the last minute.

He wondered why, despite the PNU ministers having met on Tuesday evening and agreed to back him in Parliament against the Motion, none raised a finger, except Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka who wanted the Motion deferred. In the PNU meeting chaired by Justice minister Martha Karua and attended by the VP and ministers George Saitoti, Chirau Ali Mwakwere, Uhuru Kenyatta and Beth Mugo, they agreed to defend Kimunya but later on in Parliament none of them, save Kalonzo, stood up for him. Kimunya thinks he was being fought, even by his PNU colleagues in Narc-Kenya, because they perceive him as a succession candidate for 2012. "They are fighting me from all corners because my track record speaks for itself. I have better chances of ascending to a higher office than them," said Kimunya. "I have made it clear, even to the interim chair (Ms Karua), that Narc-Kenya should remain in PNU now and even in 2012," said Kimunya.

The departure of Kimunya now leaves Kibaki without one of his closest allies in PNU and a personal friend. From Central Kenya, Kimunya, Karua, Saitoti and Kenyatta have been viewed as possible successors to Kibaki. Kimunya’s chances may now dwindle, leaving the other three to position themselves for the regional supremacy.

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